31 July 2015

Wolfgang Frühwald celebrates 80th birthday

The Honorary President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Wolfgang Frühwald, is celebrating his 80th birthday on 2 August. The internationally renowned German studies specialist served as President of the Humboldt Foundation from 1999 until 2007. He was the first humanities scholar to hold this position.

“Wolfgang Frühwald kept the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation on course even during difficult times,” stated Enno Aufderheide, Secretary General of the Humboldt Foundation, in connection with Frühwald’s upcoming birthday. “At the same time, for him, staying the course was not simply a question of maintaining the status quo, but rather of progressing to reach the targeted objective – which was to establish trust and friendship between countries by applying the highest quality standards to funding.”

Wolfgang Frühwald with a bust of Alexander von Humboldt

Photo: Humboldt Foundation/Eric Lichtenscheidt

The Frühwald era saw a number of important reforms such as the elimination of the rigid age limits in fellowship programmes and the conception and establishment of pioneering new programmes such as the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award for international research talents, Aufderheide continued. “With his outstanding intellectual capacity, Wolfgang Frühwald not only effectively represented the Foundation in his capacity as its President, he also shaped the science policy discussion in Germany with unerring objectivity.”

To this day Wolfgang Frühwald is a respected and sought-after expert in matters of research, education policy and international science funding who has many years of experience at the top of various research organisations. He received his doctorate in 1961 and did his postdoctoral thesis to obtain qualification as a university lecturer in 1969 at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (University of Munich). Beginning in 1970 he was a professor at Trier University. In 1974 he switched to the University of Munich where he was professor of modern German literature until his retirement in 2003. Parallel to his career in academia, Frühwald was always active as a research manager and in the self-governance of Germany’s research community. For instance, he was a member of the German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat) and served from 1992 through 1997 as president of the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG). He has received numerous awards, including the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The Humboldt Family with its many Humboldtians from more than 140 countries and the Humboldt Foundation with its entire staff wish Wolfgang Frühwald a happy birthday and extend their very best wishes! The Humboldt Foundation will mark Wolfgang Frühwald’s 80th birthday in October with a symposium at a Network Meeting to be held in Augsburg, where Frühwald was born and presently resides.


Teresa Havlicek
Presse, Kommunikation und Marketing
Tel.: +49 228 833-423
Fax: +49 228 833-441

Georg Scholl
Leiter Referat
Presse, Kommunikation und Marketing
Tel.: +49 228 833-258
Fax: +49 228 833-441